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The Truth about Shi Yan Ming & Iron X

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  • The Truth about Shi Yan Ming & Iron X

    Amitabha

    My name is Shi Heng Zhi (Peter Pearson Traub, Jr., Esq.), and I am a disciple of Shifu Shi Yan Ming, and a brother to Shi Heng Yi, a/k/a "Iron Cross". It is with sadness I have read Iron Cross's posts here and on Shaolinwolf.com (both are identical). I have joined this group to provide this one account of the true facts on the evening Yi (iron cross) passed out. Once I have done this, I will not return or read any response.

    Since, as Yi admits, he passed out, he should hear the truth about the evening in question from the brother who was there, who comforted him, made sure he was okay, drove him in his car to my restaurant to feed him, and offered him assistance, advice, and a place to sleep that night if he could not drive the 2 hours to his home.

    Heng Yi (iron cross) lost consciousness due to over exertion that night. He had a petite mal seizure. Everyone should know I have studied medicine for the past 25 years in my capacity as a medical malpractice trial attorney, as well as having direct experience with friends, family members, and clients who have seizure disorders. His seizure lasted about 10 seconds. Shifu stopped class immediately and gave us instructions on how to assist Yi. I got my towel and made a pillow for Yi. Heng Ming sat at his head with cool water to bring his temperature down. Two other students cooled him with wet towels behind his knees. Shifu instructed the rest of class to stay away so that Yi could get some air to breath. Shifu then sat by his disciple monitoring his condition for 10 to 15 minutes, before being sure Yi was okay.

    It is true we wear light weight uniforms while we train. They are not made of the heavy uniforms many other martial arts disciplines use, as the temple's uniforms are made out of nylon. It is true Shifu was practicing forms privately in the back with the curtain drawn. There were only 15 - 20 of us in the front of the temple (2,000 square feet of space) where two large loft sized windows were open. It is true it was hot. It was the summer.

    It is also true that Yi had passed out several times in my presence training in the summer, winter, spring and fall. Yi has passed out wearing the full light weight nylon uniform, and he has passed out wearing a vest and a tee shirt. He has passed out when it has been hot at the temple. He has passed out when it has been cold at the temple.

    Yi has an underlying medical condition trigger by the rise in his body heat, regardless of the temperature outside. On every occasion that Yi passes out, he has taken all the necessary time to rest and recover. Yi is an intelligent adult who has the means to obtain whatever medical attention he needs. I do not know if Yi has ever seen a doctor following any of his fainting spells. As one who used to suffer from similar spells when I was young, I have advised Yi to seek medical attention on prior occasions as well as on the night in question.

    Once Shifu was sure Yi was okay, and not in need of emergent medical attention, he walked away and told me that Yi’s condition was triggered by his body heat.

    I then drove Yi in his car to my restaurant while we talked about the car's handling ability. Yi seemed to be in full control of his senses. Once at my restaurant I treated my brother to a meal so that he could recover his strength. I offered to allow Yi to stay at my home that night in the city, rather than let him drive two hours to his parent’s house out at the end of Long Island.

    Yi graciously refused my offer, assuring me he was fine. He drove 2 hours home that night without incident. Yi was as correct in knowing he could drive home safely that night, as Shifu was in knowing Yi did not need an ambulance.

    I told Yi during dinner that he had a petite mal seizure, and that he ought to see a neurologist. I do not know if Yi has to this date taken my advice. I do know that at no time did he need an ambulance, and if he ever thought he did, I would have been happy to take him to the hospital for treatment, rather than to my restaurant for some food. I cannot imagine who told Yi he needed an ambulance that night.

    Yi needs to see a neurologist far more urgently than he ever "needed" an ambulance. I do not know who told Yi that Shifu was uncaring that night, because I was with Shifu, Yi, and Ming during the entire time. Class was stopped for nearly a half hour. It only started some 10 to 15 minutes after Shifu was sure that Yi would be okay. At that point his situation was not an emergency, and quite frankly, taking him to the emergency room would have been improper. Yi needed to see his doctor the next morning as he was advised to do.

    I find it sad that Yi really knew nothing of the facts that night since he passed out, yet he has had been told erroneous things by some "unnamed student" who had no close proximity to the situation. If Yi wants to know any further details of the events that evening, all he needs to do is call me. My brother Yi needs to understand himself and his condition, and who ever fed him misinformation did not help the situation. I find it sad that Yi has blamed Shifu. Yi needs to understand himself. Yi needs to see a neurologist. Blaming someone else only delays accepting the truth. Yi has a medical condition that needs to be treated.

    I was not present during Yi's meeting with Shifu; however, I did talk with Shifu afterwards. I do know that allowing Yi to train in a vest and a tee shirt was not necessary since Yi has passed out wearing his vest and tee shirt. Yi's problem was not Shifu's training methods, it was his medical condition. I find it sad that nowhere in his post does Yi refer to what he has done to seek medical attention and to understand himself. This is why Shifu told him to take time off from training; to understand himself. Blaming Shifu only delays self awareness. Blaming Shifu only obscures the need to face one's medical condition.

    I know that Shifu loves Yi. I know that Shifu hopes Yi will understand himself. I know Shifu would welcome Yi back when he does. All Yi ever has to do is ask Shifu to teach him, and he will be taught.

    Everything said here is the simple truth. Everything said here is with love for Yi.

    Amitabha

    Zhi

  • #2
    That last paragraph is beautiful!..
    I'm sure ppl will try to fault it anyway and maybe additionally call yourself and Shifu crazy, but ii think the words are good and how I'd liked to see everyone everywhere approach illhealth.. by exploring themselves better and understanding why their bodies do what they do and what can be done to make them work better..

    Enough said anyway, thankyou for clearing it up.

    Amitabah.

    Blooming Lotus

    Comment


    • #3
      Well firstly the drive is only an hour....

      I don't know why you assume I now blame the man for all my problems or ave some under lying hatred of him or the place....

      I just think hes insane... big difference.... I did see several doctors after the fact... and before the fact... They always told me the training conditions there were un safe... Saying one should re hydrate every 20 minutes... As you would know sometimes we went an hour or more before....

      When I went to talk to him a week after the fact... I wanted to hear his side of the story and find out what else might have happened.... But when talking to him he didn't care in the slightest about my near death experience... and was actually mad that I was mad more wasn't done....

      Your a lwayer Zhi and a smart guy... one of the smartest I know... is it not standard procedure to call for paramedics in the event of heat stroke? if only for a precaution... Every doctor I spoke to said that shouldve been done by someone as I was being watered down by those few people.... Shifu told me you never need to call an ambulance....

      He was more concerned with that I didn't go to his book signing and wasn't showing enough joy for all his recent success'.... Then there were the people saying things to him behind my back like some kind of twisted secret police....

      Now that I'm out I'm noticing other things I jsut don't like about the place... How everyone tries to justify every action he makes as having some hidden buddhist meaning... or how no matter what goes down, heat stroke, broken leg, cancer, whatever... Its all shifted as 100% the students fault for not understanding himself or not training hard enough or just being weak... everything is a sign of weakness...

      Your right about one thing though my body does have an adverse reaction to heat... I tried to tell the big man this and he laughed and looked at me like I was crazy... One of the BIG reasons I left was because It just wasn't safe to train there anymore... tack on all the other BS that I pointed out ie. secret police, wearing color coordinated robes, and what not ... and Its clear to see why I would not wanna go back..

      The past weekend i went out to a friends house in the hamptons for a BBq party... heng de's crib... bunch of other temple folk there... heng po asked me what happened.. I explained breifly and we had a nice conversation about the whole situation.. better than an internet forum could be... I think we all understood each other in the end and it was very informative...

      You ever wanna grab a bite to eat one night and talk about it or random things I'm always down...

      Just get one thing clear... I don't hate the man the place or anyone there.... After the fact I jsut took a step back and said you know that was ****ed up.... it was nt right... how can you even justify not calling for paramedics? your gambaling with some pretty heavy odds... I got nothing but love for all you folks.... You make it out to sound like I'm ranting on top of a soap box trying to raise an army to attack shaolin like this is some bad 70's kung fu movie.... Just having a conversation... thats all it is... i think your problem and yan mings problem is you read into everything and take yourselves a wee bit too seriously...

      I also never said you should not train there... or for people to hate yan ming... or belittle those that woudl defend him... I wanna hear those opinions.. In a previous thread I was the only one I think that told Blooming Lotus to actually speak her mind while everyone was saying shut up and go away...

      YOur last paragraph caught my attention though... Shifu loves me and hopes I will understand myslf... I'm not so sure about that oone anymore... From where I was sitting in my conversaiton with him.. and I stress form where I was sitting.. it seem to me... TO ME... that he only card about promoting himself and what I could do to help that...

      But hey Chan is all perception... which is why I find it ironic you title the thread the TRUTH about Yan Ming....

      Shifu isn't a god like being... he isn't the personification of love... or whatever else people see him as... He is just a man.... and people make mistakes.. there is nothing wrong with that... the problem is when you think or he thinks he cant make mistakes... that then becomes dangerous...

      Much love
      Iron Cross

      p.s. You know I really hope this whole situaiton can be a learning experience for us all... that way nothing happened in vain
      The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!

      Comment


      • #4
        I was crapping around the interenet today doing some research and came across this article about cults and cult activity... I was shocked while reading it.... The funniest part was how I could see examples in nearly everything mentioned at USAST... Then it wasn't funny no more and jsut scary... have a read..

        Cults: Public Perceptions vs. Research

        July 1998
        By John Stacey, Student at Rutgers University
        Edited by Rick Ross


        Topics
        What is a Cult?
        Popular Perceptions
        Why Do People Join Cults?
        Characteristics of Thought Reform
        Milieu Control
        Mystical Manipulation
        Demand for Purity
        Cult of Confession
        Sacred Science
        Loaded Language
        Doctrine over Person
        Dispensing of Existence
        Conformity
        Obedience

        What is a Cult?

        A cult is a group of people who organize around a strong authority figure--most often that person is attempting to expand their influence for the purposes of money or power. However, in order to achieve their goals destructive cults, as opposed to harmless ones--use a strong combination of influence techniques to psychologically control their members (Rhoads 1998). This set of techniques is often called "mind control" or "thought reform". Today in America studies show that between 2 and 5 million young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 are involved in approximately 2,000 to 5,000 cult groups (Robinson, Frye and Bradley 1997).

        Popular Perceptions

        There are many articles and media reports about cults and their victims, but how do people become involved with cults? It seems easy to dismiss this question by simply saying--"only foolish, lonely, or disturbed people join the ranks of destructive cults". Most people believe that individuals who join cults are insecure and are motivated by a desire to find a tight knit community within which they can find a stronger sense of identity and security--a haven from the outside world. A common perception is that such people typically cannot make decisions for themselves or bear the pressure of making choices independently. Thus, some reason that cult members were on a quest to find someone to control them and dictate their actions and lifestyle. Cult members, according to this logic, are people who prefer cultic control and dependency--instead of the burden of autonomous decision-making.

        It seems to me that these notions are usually an expression of ignorance, foolish and perhaps a form of denial. That is--such notions make us feel comfortable in the seeming security that cult members are "them" and could never be "us". Before conducting my research such notions about cultists seemed reasonable to me. However, this issue touched my personal life when a close friend, who was a healthy and well-balanced person, became involved with a cult. There is a body of research regarding the cult recruitment process. It is important to review and discuss the tactics of cult leaders and their proselytizing in an effort to explain and how intelligent psychologically healthy people--can be persuaded to join a destructive cult.

        One goal of this paper is to recognize that thousands of people are actually tricked into joining cults. Another is to respectfully remember those who perished under the psychological oppression of deranged leaders such as Jim Jones, David Koresh or Marshall Applewhite and to set straight the mistaken notions about people in cults. Also--to inform the public about the techniques of cult formation and recruitment.

        Why Do People Join Cults?

        Again and again in my research I have encountered the same phrase: No one joins a cult, rather people are recruited. Philip Zimbardo explains, "People join interesting groups that promise to fulfill their pressing needs. They become cults when they are seen as deceptive, defective, dangerous, or as opposing basic values of their society" (Zimbardo 1998). The fact is, the recruitment techniques that cults employ are quite effective. An explanation of these techniques will follow later in the paper. Cults obviously want to be successful, so they seek to recruit the most capable people who can effectively serve them. Many cult members are doctors, lawyers, professors, and high profile celebrities--responsible citizens. This is why some cults have survived for decades and functioned efficiently despite a high turnover rate, public disapproval and angry parents. People often believe cult members must have been neglected by their families. But this conclusion is in sharp contrast to the actions taken by many concerned families who will devote their money and time in intervention efforts to bring their children out of such groups and home again.

        Zimbardo urges us not to stereotype cult members. Rather than asking--"What kind of people join cults?" he suggests we should instead ask, "What was so appealing about this group that so many people were recruited/seduced into joining it voluntarily? What needs did the group fulfill that were not met by 'traditional society?'" (Zimbardo 1998). It is also important to note that cults make many promises to potential recruits in the initial phases of induction--it is often not until months or years later that the recruit realizes that these promises were ploys to gain their compliance. However, by that time, the member is already submerged in the group and likely in submission to and under the undue influence of its leadership.

        People who become cult members do not know that their recruiters have a hidden agenda. If they did initially know the actual intentions of the group--it is more likely they would resist their persuasion. It is natural for most people to not want others dictating to them. Indeed, for most of society this often seems presumptuous if not insulting. A respected psychologist, Margaret Thaler Singer, who has studied mind control since the 1950s, states that during the indoctrination process, the cult recruit is not aware how much he or she is changing. George Orwell understood that successful manipulation is "subtle and covert" (Singer 1996). The appearance of a benign Big Brother is the best way to ultimately control someone. Most people do not respond to overt efforts of persuasion.

        The unsuspecting person is a prime target for cult recruiters. Some would contend that a person must be strong and courageous in order to withstand the efforts of cult indoctrinators (Putman 1997). However, it is my contention that such a perspective is foolish. In order for a recruiter for a radical and destructive cult to be successful--their target most likely will not know their actual agenda. Thus there is an element of deliberate deception. A person within the milieu of cult indoctrination might detect that their new friends are trying to persuade them about the group's philosophy, but he or she probably believes this being done for their benefit. It is therefore difficult to feel that agreeing with them is wrong when they seem so "happy" and "genuinely concerned". According to the Journal of Psychohistory, "techniques of mind control can be imposed on virtually anybody and becoming educated to the techniques used and the existence of cults is our best defense" (Johnson 1994).

        To blame the victims of successful cult recruiting strategies is an error. Everyone is vulnerable to persuasion given the right circumstances. Every day we can find examples of deceit, deception and trickery working effectively within society. There are numerous examples such as people duped into paying for unnecessary auto repairs or being persuaded to have costly surgical procedure not really required for their health. Salesmen, advertisers, lawyers and politicians and even some doctors--expend great effort developing their abilities to persuade others.

        However, for cult recruiters the stakes seem higher than the material world--their frequent belief is that they are vying for souls and essentially providing salvation. Many people join cults at a very young age when they are naive and ill equipped to face the cold realities and deception of the world. Moreover, when people are in transitional periods in their lives they are more vulnerable. That is--someone who is essentially in great shape psychologically may be approached during a major life transition or during a crisis. They might be recruited more easily after the death of a parent, after moving to a new and unfamiliar location or perhaps after a major relationship breaks up. We should not blame cult victims for their naivete or temporary vulnerability--certainly not when there is little education in our society about the dangers of destructive cults. Many people who have previously held that cult members must be weak or disturbed people--suddenly change their mind when a close friend or family member joins such a group.

        The Media and Cults

        The media presents varying images of the kinds of people who become involved in cults. Some sources blame the victim--claiming those involved sought such destructive relationships. Other sources report the insidious techniques employed by cult leaders to deceive and persuade people. A typically negative magazine article I read recently focused on the bizarre nature of cults and how members must be defective or previously troubled to be willing participants. It is my opinion based upon research that this is a form of what is commonly called "victim bashing". The article stated that cultists must have had a "tragic void in their lives" (Fennell and Branswell 1997). Tabloids have learned that sensationalizing this issue sells and can be lucrative. However, such reporting fails to tell the more compelling story of how normal people are deceptively coerced into cult affiliation. This also can be seen as unjustly dishonoring the memory of people who have often been brutally and sometimes criminally victimized.

        One article published recently portrayed cult victims in a more realistic manner. Within this report titled "Trying to Save Josh" (Reminick 1997), a mother tells of her battle with a major religious cult to rescue her son. Josh joined when he was only 19 after he moved to the East Coast from San Francisco to attend college. The fact that he was temporarily in transition in a different geographical locale and attending a new school probably made Josh more vulnerable. His parents were divorced and Josh grew-up with his mother. This background might have contributed to his vulnerability--especially to an elder father-figure type cult recruiter. However, an older woman actually recruited him. Josh appeared to be a relatively normal and average young man. This article added to my growing interest in researching whether cult members were victims of deceptive thought reform programs, or had willingly and knowingly turned their lives over to the whims of their leaders and gurus.

        Lifton's Eight Characteristics of Thought Reform

        Robert Jay Lifton who is often viewed as the founding father of "thought reform" authored perhaps the most pivotal study on mind control. He studied the indoctrination techniques of Chinese Communists engaged in the conversion of American POWs and others during the Korean Conflict. Later, when the cult phenomenon arose in the United States, Lifton's findings were applied to cult indoctrination and recruiting practices. In his seminal book, "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism", Chapter 22 "Ideological Totalism" , describes eight themes that distinguish thought reform--that also match many of the coercive persuasion methods often used by cults. Lifton states--"In any combination they may temporarily energize or exhilarate, which at the same time poses the greatest of human threats" (Lifton 1961).

        Milieu Control
        The first technique many totalistic groups use is what Lifton would describe as "Milieu Control". This is when cult members attempt to bring a potential recruit onto group territory, a milieu or area they can control. Surrounded by people who enthusiastically share a common belief, the individual may become insecure in his beliefs--and is often too far from friends and family to talk with them and do a "reality check." Speaking or acting in ways that are in conflict with the group members who dominate this environment makes the visitor feel awkward and wrong--though he may be acting in an acceptable manner according to societal norms. It is often difficult for a person to remain confident for very long when a group of seemingly kind individuals surround him and use this soft-sell approach to indoctrination.

        The group also rewards potential member's agreement with the group--active members praise and encourage feelings of acceptance whenever he/she complies with the group and/or responds favorably to group doctrine. It is within this rather tightly controlled environment that recruiters keep the potential recruit out of contact with family and friends--who might be familiar with the organization and thus could warn of its dangers. In such a controlled environment, one is more vulnerable to the urgings of hosts.

        Mystical Manipulation
        The second theme Lifton introduces is called Mystical Manipulation. The group gives new recruits the impression that they are "God's elect"--such as some elite corps serving a heroic cause to save the world. Each member sincerely believes that the world is counting on him to fulfill his/her special responsibility. The members of the group share this profound sense of mission with the newcomer. They may claim that God has supernaturally/mystically guided the person to join their group in order to save humanity. The members frequently have a special ceremony of induction for the "chosen few". This type of induction makes the new recruit feel profoundly significant--thus the pull to join becomes almost irresistible. Despite the fact that the group members have used powerful practical tools such as milieu control, psychological pressure and possibly even lying about the nature of the group. They create the illusion that the recruit has chosen to join as an act of individual free will.

        At this stage the recruit may think he/she is joining a fun social club where the group caters to their every need. After all, during the initial phases of recruitment the recruiters treat a newcomer like royalty--often giving the impression that this may be what the group is all about. But actually this is only done to gain initial commitment. Once the newcomer makes his/her commitment to the group, often even in writing--things change. Gradually, the warmth and affection, which was a principal motivating factor for joining fades--as the new member is now pushed into the same demanding submission that most cults expect. In some groups (e.g. the Unification Church ) this may include working 16 to 20 hours every day with little rest. There may also be a low protein diet, which makes members more malleable.

        Eventually destructive group leaders will use extreme psychological pressure to force the new members to conform to the group's mind-set. This process is again part of "Mystical Manipulation" . In most cases the recruit will not know the actual expectations or agenda of the group and its often-grueling lifestyle. Of course they will be informed after "freely" making a commitment to join. Destructive cults promote the impression people join as a decision based upon individual free will. That impression is carefully ingrained in members and prevents complaints later that they were forced to into their hard life. But they most often fail to inform potential members what they are really committing themselves to--until it is too late. Thus--this manipulation of the group's recruitment process does not provide for truly informed consent.

        Demand for Purity
        The Demand for Purity is another common constraint within the cult milieu. Destructive cults teach the new member that everyone who is not a part of the group is somehow tainted, negative and/or generally unenlightened--while group members are holy and have the revealed and/or perfected truth. In fact, many groups additionally employ strictly enforced separation in the name of "purity" between males and females to prevent the development of special intimacy. However, the real motivation is more often the jealously of cult leaders regarding any commitment to someone or something else. Thus cult leaders can wield more control over their followers whose attention and time is not subverted by an "impure" romantic involvement with a significant other. In some groups only the leader(s) may decide (e.g. Rev. Moon of the Unification Church ) who is dating whom, who marries or divorces.

        The "Demand for Purity" serves to lower a member's self esteem. More specifically--in many groups there is a demand for "sexual purity" people may not have known this when they first joined. Frequently they did not know they would be expected to become celibate until the group approved of a sanctioned sexual relationship. It is obviously often difficult to accept such a way of life. Before joining many members may have been romantically involved, engaged, or even married. If a new recruit expresses difficulty in complying with this demanding new lifestyle--subsequent harsh rebukes make him feel bad and negative about these seemingly personal flaws and failings. Through continually finding ways to lower a follower's self-esteem, often through a relentless and ever-increasing "demand for purity"--cult leaders can more effectively maintain their control and promote dependency upon the group/leader(s) for a sense of self-worth.

        It is important to note that many leaders of such groups have had sexual affairs, and are guilty of sexual abuse despite such demands (e.g. David Koresh ).

        Cult of Confession
        Destructive group recruiters also often use the "Cult of Confession" to gain control over new recruits. Through a potential member's personal confession--cults gain valuable information about someone's vulnerabilities and sense of shame. Thus the group gathers meaningful information later used to manipulate the newcomer. Cults use this knowledge, found through personal confessions, as proof that the newcomer's life before the cult was corrupt and repugnant--compared to the correct way of living as prescribed by the group. In this way, the group accesses valuable/critical levers, which can assist them in molding a new recruit to conform to their mindset and preferred personality type (as demonstrated by psychological evaluations of International Church of Christ members ). It also produces a "shaming milieu" that reinforces the group's "demand for purity"--as opposed to an old lifestyle filled with "sins". And again ultimately this will likely lower the confessing members sense of self-esteem--increasing their passivity and submission to the will of the group.

        Sacred Science
        Cultists present their ideology as a virtual "Sacred Science" to newcomers. Cult recruiters relate their doctrine often with an air of scientific certainty--to convince the more critical thinkers amongst recruits of the validity and precision of their beliefs. People are more apt to accept an ideology that appears to be scientific. Chinese Communists in Lifton's Model (i.e. "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism") likewise presented Communism as the ultimate, scientifically provable, evolved attainment achieved by any truly "progressive" society. Those who disagreed were then labeled "unscientific" or somehow stubbornly ignorant of the seemingly scientific laws of meaningful social evolution. Or, in supposedly "bible" based groups--the organization's often unique and idiosyncratic interpretation of scripture is offered as not an interpretation, but the "truth", absolute and thus unquestioned revelation from God.

        However, despite such claims, actual critical analysis proves repeatedly that such cult claims are typically not scientific, or often defensible exegetically. But most new recruits are not allowed the opportunity to scrutinize such claims to prove their validity through objective evidence. Also the group's members appear so sincere--newcomers tend to trust them and may feel embarrassed to ask questions or challenge their "truth". In fact--most cult recruiters themselves actually sincerely believe the group's doctrines and claims. Though they probably joined the cult through the same process of undue influence. The sheer emotional force of the group's recruitment efforts may not convince some, so a needed little extra push comes from the presentation of the group's doctrine as "scientific truth" or "biblical truth"--this is often the clincher.

        Loaded Language

        "Loading the language" is another common theme in a cultic setting. A special jargon that gives the members a feeling of exclusiveness and that they possess some esoteric knowledge. This "loaded language" helps build solidarity amongst an elite group that speak the same cultic verbiage/lingo. It also gives the newcomer yet an extra incentive to become more involved with the group--in order to learn this language and understand what everyone is saying. Loaded Language is characterized by "thought terminating" buzz words and phrases that constrict thinking and typically replace any meaningful and independent critical analysis. This can become overwhelming and dominate the member's speech and conversation--while also binding the group together through their common language.

        Doctrine over Person
        "Doctrine over Person" occurs when cultists insist that the newcomer completely surrender to their teachings--by placing the group's rules and needs and subordinate their own. The leaders typically teach that the group's stated purpose and goals are much more important than the members needs. Therefore the opinions and concerns of individual members such as personal plans--should always be abandoned in favor of service to the group and its ideas. Cultists teach that members should filter their experiences and even thoughts through the cult's mindset. That is--subject personal perceptions of reality to what the group's doctrine offers as its reality. People are taught to essentially interpret almost everything in a way that is consistent with and reinforces the claims of doctrine. The will of the group always takes predominance over the individual--coupled with a likely intolerance to any outside frame of reference.

        Dispensing of Existence
        Lifton's final theme is the "Dispensing of Existence". This amounts to a claim that only members of the group meaningfully exist. They alone essentially are "good" and/or "saved". This is in stark contrast to non-members who are "bad" and/or "damned". Only group members are really "walking in the light", know the "truth", or are in "the Kingdom of God"--while others are somehow negative and excluded. Summing up this belief--those outside the group are essentially somehow inferior and those within the group are seen as superior. Destructive groups often foster and reinforce this mentality by claiming to be the only ones who have a valid claim to truth--or in extreme circumstances even the earth itself. Those who are inferior, base, and/or simply seen as not yet ready to take-on the their proper responsibilities--may be treated with less concern, respect or sometimes even contempt by cult members (e.g. critical family members, government authorities, old friends etc.) Regarding that treatment--"the ends [may] justify the means". Often this feeling of superiority or worthiness becomes a motive for people remaining within cults.

        Traces of some of the characteristics that Lifton describes can be found in other groups or areas in life. However, this does not necessarily mean that the group or situation is cultic or dangerous. When all eight (or at least six) of these themes occur simultaneously in an environment or are concentrated together in some potent combination is there a need for concern.

        Cognitive Dissonance

        There are other explanations for the tactics of cults. Leon Festinger's findings regarding "Cognitive Dissonance theory" (Festinger 1964) explains how cults are able to gain the compliance of recruits. Festinger explains that in order to alter a human being it is necessary to affect at least one of three aspects of a person: behavior, thought, or emotions. Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman (authors of "Snapping" 1978,1997) pioneered the addition of another component--the control of information, which they say has a profound influence in behavior modification. Conway and Siegelman have diagnosed the results of such information control--"Information Disease".

        Cults try to control recruits by controlling one or more of the above components. The more components they can control effectively--the more quickly and totally they can conquer the individual. Cults try to control recruits by controlling one or more of the above components. The more components they can control effectively--the more quickly and totally they can conquer the individual.

        Examples of behavior control can be seen through a cult's attempts to monitor the daily activities of their members--shaping and molding their behavior through habits and rituals they have developed. Cults may decide how much a member sleeps and what kind of food is eaten. By steering a newcomer along this prescribed path of daily activities, habits and rituals the leaders begin to reduce dissonance within the new recruit. In this way they can further affect their thoughts and emotions. As Festinger himself said, "If you change a person's behavior, his thoughts and feelings will change to minimize the dissonance" (Festinger 1964).

        By indoctrinating people with cult dogma and attitudes through a process of "Thought Reform" as described by Lifton--cultists are ultimately able to control the thoughts of new recruits. The cult provides its people with a new "Loaded Language" to match their worldview. A cult's philosophy typically provides simplistic and/or almost magical answers to all of life's mysteries. And thus, cultists do not really "teach" their doctrines, rather they program the minds of individuals to accept such doctrines without question. During that programming process, cult recruiters subject new recruits to their dogma repetitively and often hypnotically (e.g. trance induction, meditation techniques)--so that the doctrine eventually overwhelms the person. Once the cult thus inculcates the mind with its ideas--the newcomer avoids personal dissonance by trying to remold his/her behaviors and emotions to match this new way of thinking.

        Emotional control is another means by which cults change people. Cults manipulate emotions in order to gain a recruit's compliance. Their goal is to convince people that within the group everything is joyful--while in the outside world there is most often negativity, "spiritual blindness", or even misery and despair. Groups may try to create a high-spirited atmosphere--especially during the initial recruiting period. This reinforces the contrived perception that there is a certain euphoria in living within the group--while again suggesting an impersonal coldness in the outside world. Cults often attempt to turn people against their loved ones by claiming that the only authentic kind of "love" is essentially the property of the group. They often use unreasonable guilt, shame and fear to maintain the loyalty of members through their public confessions and by indoctrinating members with seemingly phobic/unreasonable fears about leaving. Individuals will try to change their thoughts, behaviors and emotions to match a program the cult has managed to instill through their process of indoctrination.

        Cults try to regulate the flow of information to their members--especially during the early stages of the indoctrination process. Within many communal cults, or retreats designed for induction--an individual may have little or no access to newspapers, television, or radio. They are instead bombarded by a barrage of group propaganda--such as publications and recordings made by leader(s). Through such isolation from normal society, cults are able to cocoon a person and avoid critical information about their group and immediate access to advice from friends or family. Generally, this blocks out accurate feedback about the cult and its practices.

        As the cult recruiters bombard the potential member with favorable information about their group--it is difficult for any newcomer to develop an informed, objective opinion. When a person does not hear "both sides of the story"--it is difficult to make a meaningful judgment. Cults often shield new members from their higher level teachings (e.g., Scientology ) because this might scare off potential recruits--by seeming too bizarre in the early stages of indoctrination. Instead, cultists are incrementally fed information as they demonstrate loyalty, devotion and become more pliable through their increased suggestibility (Walsh and Bor 1997). That suggestibility is often the end result of the "Thought Reform" process. With such limited access to objective information about the group and its history, it is difficult for a person to sort through their difficulties, reason rationally and leave such a controlling, yet often seemingly warm environment.

        Conformity

        Dr. Solomon Asch conducted now famous experiments in which he studied social conformity (Asch 1956). The results of these experiments can help us to understand how healthy and intelligent people often become involved with cult groups. In once such experiment he instructed confident, assertive sounding people in his class to give wrong answers, which then led other students to doubt their own judgments. Cults often use these same tactics. When a cult speaker is teaching the doctrine of the group--some newcomers may doubt the ideas of the group. However, when the vast majority of cultists surrounding someone enthusiastically agree with the speaker--eventually many people will feel overwhelmed and submit to the group's way of thinking. Asch clearly demonstrated this through his practical experiments. That is--how anyone could be vulnerable to the power of conformity within certain social situations despite their level of previous confidence and self-esteem.

        Obedience

        Stanley Milgram also conducted experiments that are helpful in understanding cult dynamics. Again--helping us to understand how normal people often exhibit seemingly bizarre behavior in cults. Milgram's famous shock experiments demonstrated that people would likely obey another person in a position of authority --even to the point of hurting someone in a bizarre and punitive exercise of power.

        In brief--Milgram enrolled students unwittingly in an experiment regarding their reactions to influence. He put some in the role of enforcers--administering ever-increasing levels of electric shock to other students who were seemingly their victims. The shocks were administered on the basis of whether answers were given successfully to questions within a prescribed period of time. Failure to respond properly and promptly required a punishing electric shock--increased incrementally. The supposed "victims" of this experiment were actually feigning their reactions and merely playing a role--there was no actual electric shock. However, those students who acted as enforcers--administered the electric shock believing their subject was receiving ever increasing voltage and subsequent pain. They were willing to perform as instructed--seemingly content that their responsibility was obviated by submitting to legitimate authority.

        Obviously cult leaders are viewed by their followers as legitimate, if not divine or divinely ordained figures of authority. Cult members convinced of this authority and controlled by such leaders (who are often psychologically unstable themselves) will do increasingly bizarre things. It seems that cult followers will do almost anything to advance the goals and interests of such leaders--fulfilling the philosophy that "the ends justify the means". An imminent pioneer in cult education Rabbi Maurice Davis once commented that the doctrine of "the ends justify the means" is not only a questionable doctrine itself, but could be a "proscription for tragedy". Specifically he pointed out that within groups where dictatorial leaders "determine what is just and good and the members cannot disagree" almost any behavior might be rationalized. At the behest of such leaders many cultists have committed crimes against others or against themselves that such individuals would not normally commit independently.

        The crimes of Hitler's followers during the Nazi era is one such example--and there are many others historically e.g. Stalin's purges, Mao's "Cultural Revolution". In recent years the violence of Aum the Waco Davidians and the suicides of the Solar Temple and Heaven's Gate offer further proof of the seemingly irrational behavior promulgated by destructive cult leaders.

        Millions of unsuspecting people have been victimized by the coercive persuasion techniques employed by many cults and their resulting undue influence. Our best defense is facing the reality that many destructive cults work hard every day to recruit new members using such techniques. We must recognize that the techniques of persuasion and influence they use have proven to be very successful. A healthy dose of informed caution is needed, so that when we come in contact with such groups seeking our involvement--we are better prepared.

        The type of people who join cults are typically no different than the vast majority of society. Some have been experiencing a time of stressful transition or a temporary crisis. We are all more susceptible to persuasion techniques during such times. It is important to be sensitive to those vulnerable periods especially when being approached by a new group or organization. True, many of us have heard about cults, we have read about them or have seen sensational stories on television, but more often than not we feel that somehow we are immune to them. Many continue to believe in the myth that only troubled people with serious problems become their victims. But the truth is--healthy "normal", but often naïve people become involved unwittingly every day. We must become more sophisticated concerning our response to destructive cults, our own susceptibility and share that information with others we care about.

        Copyright © 1998 Rick Ross
        The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!

        Comment


        • #5
          Good God IronCross with your conspiracy theories!!..
          Christ.

          Ch'ans lesson iis to look inside yourself for answer to everything bad that happens that so we don't fester in hate and disillusion and can find peace.. we do nOt promote grudges..

          ..you must remember that not only is Shi Heng Zhi a medical practitioner of 25 + yrs, recognised by the comunity as a person of good moral stead and role model values as all MDs are, the man also specialises in malpractice suits...

          except that you were at the time in the thows of a seizure and by medical definition wouldn't know whaat wa going on around you at the time, your statements were untrue.

          ..and there are a room full of witnesses that say that you received adequate assistance and post event care and follow up..

          Your overheating problem as far as qigong and chan philosophy goes eludes to erradic overstimulated merdian channels and results in deficits from other sympathetic systems that can't keep up ... because tcm believes that poor health also relates to emotions and your perceptions, thats why introspection would benifit and likely why YanMing suggested it ... nOt that you also didn't receive help from qualified practioners of both eastern and westen medical schoolsduring the acute attack..... which as a qigong teacher, Yan Ming would also qualify ..

          I don't what more you thought they should after their mutual conclusion after assesment of your situation..

          yes YanMing is just a man who's vulnerable to making mistakes and so are you. The difference is that he has an awareness of buddha nature to guide him and has for some time and you're less familiar ... God bless you.

          Blooming Lotus

          Comment


          • #6
            Zhi isnt a doctor... hes a lawyer that used to sue doctors....
            The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, he's not a very good "doctor", and in my opinion, is not a very good malpractice attorney. He's not only missed a lot of very strong points here; he's also most certainly provided much material for the so called plaintiff, if I may use that term.

              First, what has been described, is not a "petit mal seizure".

              Second, the association with heat is obvious:

              Heng Yi (iron cross) lost consciousness due to over exertion that night. He had a petite mal seizure. Everyone should know I have studied medicine for the past 25 years in my capacity as a medical malpractice trial attorney, as well as having direct experience with friends, family members, and clients who have seizure disorders. His seizure lasted about 10 seconds. Shifu stopped class immediately and gave us instructions on how to assist Yi. I got my towel and made a pillow for Yi. Heng Ming sat at his head with cool water to bring his temperature down. Two other students cooled him with wet towels behind his knees.
              This is great:

              Yi has an underlying medical condition trigger by the rise in his body heat, regardless of the temperature outside
              The temperature outside has nothing to do with the incidence of heat related disorders if the physical exertion is done inside. OK, nice try. And, by the way, loss of conciousness and seizure activity in heat disorder victims is a very serious condition.

              Third, an attorney who writes down the diagnosis, and, slams the book on his head:

              Once Shifu was sure Yi was okay, and not in need of emergent medical attention, he walked away and told me that Yi’s condition was triggered by his body heat.
              Good lord, back in my medical expert witness days, as Chief of Anesthesiology, and as a Critical Care Consultant, the lawyers I knew would have had a field day with this nonsense. A Chinese citizen with negligible education, and no medical education whatsoever, monk or not, stating that a young healthy man, one who obviously is capable of conducting vigorous exercise, who has just passed out and seized because of an elevated body temperature, as stated by the people there, was "not in need of emergent medical attention" and that the victim was "ok".

              I've already made a post about Heat Related Injuries in the Hospital section of the site. I suggest that you read it, very carefully.

              I've also made a thread on cult behavior. Search for it. You might all find it interesting.

              All very sad.
              Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

              "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

              (more comments in my User Profile)
              russbo.com


              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Unregistered

                except that you were at the time in the thows of a seizure and by medical definition wouldn't know whaat wa going on around you at the time, your statements were untrue.

                Blooming Lotus
                That's correct. If he were having a seizure, he would not know all that was going on around him.

                And if he were having a seizure secondary to a heat related disorder, he was seriously overheated, and, I might add, in danger of dying.

                Lotus, you're classic. And, I might add, in my opinion, a moron too.
                Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                (more comments in my User Profile)
                russbo.com


                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by doc
                  The temperature outside has nothing to do with the incidence of heat related disorders if the physical exertion is done inside.
                  you try sleeping there in the winter, lol...
                  "Arhat, I am your father..."
                  -the Dark Lord Cod

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Behind every strong man there is an equally strong (and if not more diabolical) woman. The issues occuring at said location are not rooted in the Oz-like figure in the foreground but the woman behind the curtain. I hope you dont think this "monk" in all of his "intelligence" and "power" was able to create this wonderous cult all on his own.

                    I find it hilarious that all of you refer to each as Shi heng "yada yada". I believe that part of "Loaded Language" described above. You will never be a Shi "whatever". Shaolin is dead....go learn some wushu.

                    I think BL should be a student at USAST she would fit in perfectly there.
                    "What is barely legal?" - Ali G

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You all are missing the point, that being, SYM is sufficiently scared by this stuff that he's already started bringing out the lawyers, before Cross has even talked to one. Where there's smoke...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by zachsan
                        You all are missing the point, that being, SYM is sufficiently scared by this stuff that he's already started bringing out the lawyers, before Cross has even talked to one. Where there's smoke...
                        now this made me laugh out loud. when did you start breathing exclusively through the mouth. you guys are really cooking up some wild shit.
                        "Arhat, I am your father..."
                        -the Dark Lord Cod

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My name is Shi Heng Zhi (Peter Pearson Traub, Jr., Esq.), and I am a disciple of Shifu Shi Yan Ming...,
                          Well, you have to admit, it was an interesting way of introducing oneself. Especially in a forum that promotes anonymity.

                          I wouldn't laugh too hard. I've been here before....
                          Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                          "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                          (more comments in my User Profile)
                          russbo.com


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            BL was okay, but when the lawyers started coming to this page, it became evident that Russbo had gone to shit.
                            Becoming what I've dreamed about.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              all i know is ive never heard more bitching about a teacher from his students...

                              atleast wkk could keep his people in line lolo

                              and to think he wanted to sue me...hahahahaha

                              and about the lawyers etc, i dont think yan ming has much to worry about, he has like 200 students i doubt hes worried...it is a bit strange though that the lawyer pops up to defend usast...
                              "did you ask me to consider dick with you??" blooming tianshi lotus

                              Comment

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